My new Oscar! Help?

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VannahBanana created the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

I set up my 55 gallon fish tank two weeks ago (Which I've used before) and it has two whisper filters, a heater, and rocks at the bottom. I bought an albino Oscar Tiger fish yesterday at petco and the little guy is about 1.75 inches long. I didn't get a second one because I wasn't sure how big the tank needed to be for two. I'm new to Oscars, I've only had bettas and goldfish before. So if anyone could give me some advice on how to give him the best life possible that would be swell! :laugh: He just seems to be hiding behind the filter and hanging out near the top of the tank. But when I try to feed him, he seems uninterested. He has chichlid pellets and live mealworms and he doesn't eat either of them. I might get some live feeder fish or something later today, But the associate at petco said he was eating flakes before I bought him. So should I keep feeding him flakes? And what about him hiding so much?? :ohmy:
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Vinny replied the topic: Re:My new Oscar! Help?

I'd the tank cycled 55? gallons is bare minimum if not a tad too small for a single adult Oscar alone in a tank. Not eating right away Is common. Not sure on your filters to know if they supply enough filtration. Oscars are messy

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OFL replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

Welcome to our little community. Okay, what worries me slightly as you said you set up your tank to weeks ago. You say you've used it before, does that mean that it sat idle without any fishing for a while? Before you can safely add fish to an aquarium you have to do cycle it first. Basically this means creating a biological filter, in very basic terms this means letting lots of bacteria grow inside your filter system. This bacteria is what removes the dangerous toxins such as ammonia and nitrite. Two weeks is not long enough to cycle an aquarium properly. So what worries me is that at some stage soon your water is going to become dangerous for your little Oscar. Have you got a water testing kit? If not, you need to get one that tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.

I don't want to blind you with science too much at the moment, but if you could get back to us and give a little bit more detail about what you are doing, maybe we can help you more.

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VannahBanana replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

I had it in storage for a while, but I thought "Cycled" was when you've used the tank before. I asked a petco associate, which was probably a horribly bad idea.... :/ He came out when I put decorations and sand in the tank and he did a couple of backflips in the water but went back into hiding. And I tried the flake food but he didn't care for it either.
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theniceguy9112 replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

Since the tank isn't cycled, I would recommend doing 50 percent water changes everyday for at least a month. This way the tank can cycle properly, and the Oscar won't get sick from the bad stuff in the tank that the bacteria hasn't taken care of yet. Make sure to use water treatment each time, and add enough to treat the entire tank, even though you're only doing 50 percent of the water. It ensures that you get all the chlorine and such out of the water, and it won't harm your fish.

As OFL said, get yourself a liquid water test kit. You can get them for 30 bucks In a LFS or on Amazon for cheaper yet. It's worth the investment, and helps you to understand what is going on with the chemistry of the water. The more you know, the more we can help you!
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VannahBanana replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

I thought fish could get sick from daily water changes! I'm so glad to hear I can do that to keep him from getting sick! Thank you! :)
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Suprd71 replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

Just saying hello and welcome to OFL. Unfortunate, but all too common that you got misinformed from another chain store flunky. Good solid advice from here so far. Just to emphasize, it is CRITICAL that you protect your baby Oscar from toxins. A bad start to life will result in a shortened life. Stick with us, we will help all the way through.


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theniceguy9112 replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

You won't hurt him by doing daily water changes. If people tell you that you shouldn't do it that often then they really don't know too much about keeping fish, lol.

The idea of water changes is the give them the same conditions as if they lived in the wild. Rivers and lakes all have different ways of replacing the water they keep. Obviously the big two are water evaporating and then it raining to replenish the water. We want to do the same thing with our tanks. We want to replace the water that they live in with fresh water without the nasty things that come from leftover food, poop, and other contaminates.

This is where the liquid test kit comes is vital. It allows us to know if the bacteria in the tank is doing its job in getting rid of the really bad stuff, and only leaving nitrates. Then we measure the amount of nitrates in the tank to get a feel for how often we need to replace the water they live in. Example: My Oscar currently lives in a 55 gallon tank. After testing the water and seeing how many ppm my nitrate levels are, I find that I have to do a water change every 3 days. I change the water once it hits around 30 to 40 ppm. (Should be sooner, but my job makes it hard for me to keep a better schedule).

Once the tank is cycled you can do the same thing. This way you can learn the schedule to change out your water, which I'm pretty sure it'll be close to twice a week, maybe even three times. Just be sure that when you treat the water that you do so for the entire tank and not just for the water you replaced.
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VannahBanana replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

You guys have helped me out SO much. I really want to keep this little dude healthy because my 1 year old already loves him lol I can't have him die on me. He's becoming more active, and I'm in the process of doing a 50% water change right now so I hope it helps him liven up a little :) All I've known about for a while is Goldfish and Bettas, so Oscars are COMPLETELY new to me, so I thank you all for the kind helpful advice :)
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theniceguy9112 replied the topic: My new Oscar! Help?

You can easily take these tips to other kinds of fish keeping as well. I have a small 20 gallon community tank that I keep guppies and mollies in, and doing the same thing with them makes sure they stay healthy and happy! I've had them for three years as well, and they just as good as when I bought them for a dollar, lol.
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